The government will provide credit to farmers under Kisan Credit Cards in an attempt to help the agricultural sector tide over the coronavirus pandemic. “In an effort to buffer the agricultural sector from the shock of COVID-19, a special saturation drive is underway to provide concessional credit to farmers through Kisan Credit Card (KCC),” the Ministry of Finance announced in a statement on Thursday. As of 17th August, credit cards to 1.22 crore farmers have been sanctioned with a credit limit of over Rs 1 lakh crore. It is expected that the same will help in reviving the rural economy and accelerating agricultural growth.
Earlier, the government had announced concessional credit of Rs 2 lakh crore for farmers under its Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package. The move was expected to benefit 2.5 crore farmers, including fishermen and dairy farmers. Among other announcements made for the agriculture sector under the Rs 21 lakh crore economic package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced setting up of Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund to boost investments in the farm sector, especially in cold storages, warehousing and markets for farmers.
The same was later launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech. “The agriculture infrastructure fund will provide better warehousing and cold storage facilities for farmers and is a step towards doubling of farm income,” PM Modi said, adding that the fund will also create new jobs as investments will increase into food processing and post-harvest facilities in rural India. PM Modi also transferred the sixth instalment of the cash payment for farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. Nearly 8.5 crore farmers got the sixth instalment of PM-KISAN scheme in their banks. The total amount of the sixth instalment was Rs 17,000 crore.
Kisan Credit Cards scheme was launched to prevent farmers from getting loans on high interest rates charged via money lenders in the unorganized sector. Under the scheme, farmers can avail a loan as and when they require. The scheme was launched in August 1998 and was prepared by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).